US mayor justifies luxury flights citing skin color and gender — Analysis

LaToya Cantrell suggests flying economy is “unsafe” for black women, while justifying her $30,000 spend on first-class seats

LaToya Catrell, Democratic Mayor of New Orleans insists that first-class aircraft seats are necessary. She suggests that flying economy for a woman of color would not be safe.

Cantrell is refusing to refund the $30,000 of taxpayers’ money she spent on the luxury seats to France and Switzerland.

Cantrell stated that Cantrell was a strong advocate for women’s rights at last week’s press conference. “travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not luxury.” That’s despite her entourage and security staff reportedly traveling coach during the trips.

“As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be,”Cantrell elaborated, adding: “anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.”

According to the mayor, she took an American Airlines first-class flight to Switzerland in July. “doing business on behalf of the city.”

“All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,”LaToya said this, while speaking out of the Nix Library on Wednesday. 

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However, New Orleans’ travel policy for city officials makes it clear that all employees “are required to purchase the lowest airfare available”Those who upgrade their seats will be responsible for any difference. 

The city may also require employees to reimburse it within 20 days of any overpayment for travel expenses.

Speaking to Fox 8, the mayor’s staff said they are checking to see if the city policy applies to Cantrell, as she is an elected official and not specifically hired by the city itself.

4WWL reports that Cantrell, along with her entourage, spent $2,800 on March’s first-class Miami trip for the US Conference of Mayors. The total cost was between $300 and $677. She also reported spending $2,300 for a luxurious flight to Washington in January while her staff spent only $250.

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